5 Thyroidectomy Nursing Care Plans


Thyroidectomy, although rare, may be performed for patients with thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and drug reactions to antithyroid agents; pregnant women who cannot be managed with drugs; patients who do not want radiation therapy; and patients with large goiters who do not respond to anti-thyroid drugs.

The two types of thyroidectomy include:

  1. Total thyroidectomy: The gland is removed completely. Usually done in the case of malignancy. Thyroid replacement therapy is necessary for life.
  2. Subtotal thyroidectomy: Up to five-sixths of the gland is removed when antithyroid drugs do not correct hyperthyroidism or RAI therapy is contraindicated.

Nursing Care Plans

Thyroidectomy requires meticulous postoperative nursing care to prevent complications. Nursing priorities will include managing hyperthyroid state preoperatively, relieving pain, providing information about the surgical procedure, prognosis, and treatment needs, and preventing complications.

Here are five (5) nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis for thyroidectomy:

  1. Acute Pain
  2. Risk for Impaired Airway Clearance
  3. Impaired Verbal Communication
  4. Risk for Injury
  5. Deficient Knowledge

Impaired Verbal Communication

Nursing Diagnosis

May be related to

  • Vocal cord injury/laryngeal nerve damage
  • Tissue edema; pain/discomfort

Possibly evidenced by

  • Impaired articulation, does not/cannot speak; use of nonverbal cues such as gestures

Desired Outcomes

  • Client will establish a method of communication in which needs can be understood.
Nursing Interventions Rationale
Assess speech periodically. Encourage voice rest. Hoarseness and sore throat may occur secondary to tissue edema or surgical damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve and may last several days. Permanent nerve damage can occur (rare) that causes paralysis of vocal cords and/or compression of the trachea.
Keep communication simple. Ask yes or no questions. Reduces demand for response and promotes voice rest.
Provide alternative methods of communication as appropriate: slate board, picture board. Place IV line to minimize interference with written communication. Facilitates the expression of needs.
Anticipate needs as possible. Visit patient frequently. Reduces anxiety and patient’s need to communicate.
Post notice of the patient’s voice limitations at central station and answer call bell promptly. Prevents patient from straining voice to make needs known or summon assistance.
Maintain a quiet environment. Enhances ability to hear whispered communication and reduces the necessity for the patient to raise or strain voice to be heard.

See Also

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Endocrine and Metabolic Care Plans

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